Yesterday, immigration officers from the Home Office raided Fleetwood Aluminium, a factory in Bath Road, Slough and arrested workers whom they suspected of having no immigration status in the UK. The business has been served with a potential liability notice warning that a civil penalty of up to £10,000 per illegal worker will be imposed, unless the organisation can provide proof that correct right to work checks were carried out.
The Home Office’s immigration raids are beginning to become more common in recent news, with the Home Office toughening up on UK business owners who are employing migrants from outside the EEA. Here, we will consider what the Home Office expects from Tier 2 Sponsors and explore the penalties for not complying with their sponsorship duties.
Immigration Enforcement: Officers Arrest “Illegal Workers”
Immigration Officers raided a factory in Slough yesterday and arrested 12 people suspected of being illegal immigrants. The workers were questioned by the immigration officers who checked their immigration status which led to 12 Indian men aged between 25 and 51 being arrested. Nine of those arrested have been detained at an immigration removal centre pending their removal from the UK.
A spokesperson for the company stated:
“We are satisfied that our internal immigration checks are robust and compliant with Border Agency requirements and we are currently working collaboratively with them to resolve any matters that may arise as a result of their visit.”
Tier 2 UK Sponsor’s Duties & Objectives
The main duties for a UK Tier 2 Sponsor include at least the following:
- Keeping a record of all documents in relation to a migrant employee and making it available for Home Office officials;
- Reporting certain information to Home Office officials (i.e whether a migrant’s contract of employment has ended earlier than it’s indicated on the certificate of sponsorship);
- Maintaining migrant’s contact details including a history of details not just a current address; and
- Ensuring that the employer is compliant with the Home Office’s compliance and audit procedures.
Home Office’s Penalties for Employers who Employ Illegals
Currently, an employer could be fined up to £10,000 for each illegal worker and/or face criminal prosecution if it fails to carry out the appropriate checks on their employees. The government intends to toughen civil penalties for businesses employing illegal migrants once the Immigration Bill becomes law. The following is a summary of these proposals:
- The maximum penalty for employing illegal workers will increase to £20,000;
- The way civil penalties are calculated will be simplified;
- The way unpaid penalties can be enforced in the civil courts will be simplified; and
- There will be measures to allow recovery of a civil penalty from directors and partners of limited liability businesses following failure to pay by the businesses.
Immigration Legal Advice Tier 2 Sponsors (Business Owners) in the UK
If you are a UK business and have been affected by the Home Office’s raids, contact us to discuss this further.
Business owners sponsoring migrants from outside the EEA must ensure that they are legally registered to sponsor these migrants and must have a valid Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence. If the Home Office has contacted you in relation to carrying out a compliance visit at your business premises, contact us for legal advice.